We have nearly 250,000 ways of saying, “Yes, we do!” That’s how many dogs have been enrolled in the AKC Canine Partners mixed-breed program since 2009.
AKC Canine Partners enables mixes to vie for AKC titles alongside purebreds. The program’s ongoing popularity proves without a doubt that not only does the AKC like mixed-breeds, but also that mixed-breeds and their owners like the AKC. Last year alone, there were some 50,000 mixed-breed entries in AKC sports and 5,000 titles earned.
Among the great Canine Partners success stories is a dynamic Husky-mix named Roo, a hard-luck case who bounced around the San Francisco shelter system before her discovery by animal trainer Stacy Campbell. Roo is today one of the superstars of competitive agility. She was a big winner at the AKC Agility Invitational, the AKC National Agility Championship, and the Westminster Kennel Club. And last summer Roo went to Belgium as part of the AKC Agility World Team, competing against the world’s best agility dogs.
Of course, few dogs—mixed or purebred—will reach such heights. But if you’re a motivated owner of a reasonably well-trained dog, an AKC title is within your grasp. There’s an AKC sport to suit the inclination and temperament of every dog and owner.
Mixed-breeds can earn AKC titles in the sports of obedience, rally, agility, tracking, and coursing ability test (CAT). The AKC also recognizes titles offered by the North American Flyball Association and the Barn Hunt Association. These sports vary in intensity and required skills, but all are activities any dog can enjoy. The AKC Good Citizen Test, though not a competitive sport, is another path to official titles.
Putting an AKC title on your mixed-breed in head-to-head competition with purebreds is a wonderful source of bragging rights at your local dog park. (Learn how to do that here.) But ultimately, AKC sports are all about forging a closer, more fulfilling bond with your dog. Whenever training for competition results in a happy, well-socialized, and obedient dog, the entire dog-owning community is the winner.